Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/27/2004
Publication Date: 12/1/2004
Citation: Ferrell, C.L. 2004. Beef cattle. In: Pond, W.G., Church, D.C., Pond, K.R., Schoknecht, P.A., editors. Basic Animal Nutrition and Feeding. 5th Edition. Hobeken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. p. 395-411.
Technical Abstract: Beef cattle primarily harvest and utilize feed resources that are not usable or poorly utilized by non-ruminants and convert those feedstuffs to high value products. Less than 15% of the feed resources utilized for beef cattle production are of potential value for direct human consumption. Beef cattle are produced in a diversity of environments and management systems. Goals of beef cattle production and management, as a result, are generally directed toward optimization of production vs. input costs within a production environment rather than maximizing production. Production environment is thus a major consideration in developing management strategies and contributes to segmentation of the beef cattle industry into cow-calf, stocker/backgrounder, and feedlot segments. Each segment, to a large extent, has evolved to more effectively utilize available feed resources. Certain principles, some of which have been described in this chapter, are inherent in beef cattle production. However, an often underrated attribute of beef cattle is their ability to buffer nutritional or other environmental insults and rapidly adapt to changing environmental conditions. Thus, in many situations alternative strategies are available to achieve similar biological results, but may produce substantially different economical outcomes.